Bettina Elias Siegel is a former lawyer, writer and host at the must-read American blog about kids and food (“in school and out”) called The Lunch Tray. She has been a fearless crusader for healthier school meals for several years, and was the brains behind the successful petition to the USDA to get rid of pink slime (fatty beef trimmings treated with ammonium hydroxide and added as filler to ground beef—yuck!) in the meat served in American schools.
I always enjoy her smart and nuanced writing and thinking about kids and food issues—especially her unapologetic defense of equity in the cafeteria—but I also appreciate that she sometimes blogs about what she’s feeding her family. School food is that kind of issue: the personal really is political.
So, of course, I was honoured and delighted when Bettina asked to interview me about What’s for Lunch? Here’s an excerpt from the Q &A after the jump. To read the whole thing, please visit The Lunch Tray. In fact, visit The Lunch Tray anyway.
“The Lunch Tray: What’s your main goal for the book? What do you hope kids will take away from it?
AC: I’d like kids to see that they can make a difference in their own school and community and that lunch is a great place to start….
TLT: Is there anything you’d like to tell Lunch Tray readers about the book?
AC: People often suggest to me that kids don’t care about what they eat and that given the opportunity, they’d chose nothing but hot dogs and fries and drink nothing but soda. But in all my research and interviews, I found this was simply not true.
Not only is this a particularly North American take on things—-and the result of intense marketing to children and adults alike—-I found that given the opportunity to learn about food (where it comes from, how its grown, transported and packaged) and to get involved in cooking, growing and sharing it, children make great choices about what they eat.
I think teaching children food literacy (especially how what we eat is connected to so many things we all care about, including the environment, health and poverty) is one of the most important things we can do as parents and educators.”